How do you find a food allergy-aware sitter for your family?

Your quest for the elusive, food allergy-aware babysitter has begun, but it does not have to be stressful. As parents and caregivers, we must place a tremendous amount of trust in others to care for our child(ren) – even more so if they have a potentially life-threatening food allergy. These questions – and Backstop’s support – can help you find that rare gem that’s right for your family.

Watch Fawn McNeil-Haber, PhD and Julie Sweeney, MD, FAAP, share what questions they ask when looking for a babysitter.

✅  What’s your experience with food allergies? Have you ever cared for someone with one or had training?

The goal is to understand their food allergy knowledge and how seriously they take this condition. And if they don’t have experience, are they open to it and going through formal training?

✅  Have you ever had to treat an allergic reaction? If so, can you explain what happened?

If they have, try to determine what caused the reaction. Did they expose the individual to the allergen by accident? While accidents happen, that’s an important red flag to keep in mind.

✅  Have you ever had to use an epinephrine auto-injector?

If they haven’t used an EpiPen before, how comfortable do they feel injecting a needle into someone? If they have, how did they know they needed to use the device? Did they use it correctly and know to call 911 (or your emergency services number) in time?

✅  How do you handle stressful situations?

As you know, remaining calm under pressure is key to treating an allergic reaction. If an emergency arose, you want to make sure that they could remain level-headed and give your child the timely care they need.

✅  Do you know what cross-contamination is, and how will you prevent it when caring for my child?

It’s essential to keep your home safe, and some people are unaware that they can unknowingly bring an allergen into your space. Make sure they understand the risks and the importance of frequent hand-washing.

✅  Grow your team

Once you find a sitter, make sure you invite them to your child’s team in the Backstop app. Encourage them to complete the video training and review your child’s triggers, reactions, and medical needs.


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